I had various contracts as Teaching Assistant for courses of Biochemistry from 2009 to 2013. I was appointed to design laboratory experiences and to guide the students throughout the laboratory classes. In this period I started using a blog to interact with the students, to provide them with background knowledge and laboratory protocols, to spark their interest and to promote scientific discussions about the topics that we were studying and the techniques that we were practising. The result is Biochimica del metabolismo, a blog that has provided assistance for various scientific experiences and for various classes of students during the years, and that turned to be an interesting instrument also for other teachers.
The main laboratory experiences than can be easily reproduced by other educators with their pupils using the blog materials are:
- The measure of the photosynthetic activity of leaf disks in response to different lights
- The measure of the respiratory activity of purified mitochondria
- The measure of a simple enzymatic kinetics
From 2010 to 2013 I worked as Teaching Assistant for the course of Genomics, actively collaborating with Dr. Andrea Telatin at the design and realisation of innovative experiences to carry out with the students:
- during the first course we prepared with the students a library of full length transcripts, we sequenced it and analysed the data;
- during the following course we worked with the students at the finishing of a genome starting with the bioinformatics and guiding them through the realization of the experiments in the laboratory (PCR amplification of target sequences, sequencing and analysis);
- finally we carried out the metagenomic analysis of a water sample from a local river again getting the students involved through all the complete experiment including both wet lab and bioinformatics. This time again we used the great potential of a blog (Blog of the Laboratory Experience of Metagenomics) to interact with the students and to guide them through a real scientific project.Hopefully the material that we published will serve other Teachers, which are planning to carry out a similar experiences with their students.
From 2008 to 2012 I worked as Teaching Assistant for the Laboratories of Structural Biochemistry. I designed for the students a simple experience based on the expression and purification of SYFP, a yellow florescent protein that changes the spectral proprieties in response to changes in the pH of the environment. The students analysed the purified protein for purity, quantity and spectral properties in buffers with different pH. Finally they were asked to make hypotheses concerning possible structural properties that could justify the response of the protein to the different pH values. All the background knowledge, protocols and results of the experience were reported on a web site that I realised to assist the teaching.